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OBJECTIVES: The solid/multicystic ameloblastoma is a slowly growing, locally invasive epithelial odontogenic tumour. In
80% of cases this lesion occurs in the mandible, mainly in the posterior region, and it is characterized by the involvement
of the inferior alveolar nerve. A panoramic radiograph of a 43-year-old man with chronic deep pain in the posterior
area of the mandible showed a multilocular radiolucent lesion with scalloped borders in the left mandibular ramus.
After the execution of a computed tomography of the jaws, to accurately determine the limits of the lesion and the relationship
with the the inferior alveolar nerve, the magnetic resonance imaging was used.
METHODS: The spatial relationship between the lesion and the inferior alveolar nerve was defined comparing different
imaging methods: panoramic radiography, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. T1-weighted fast spoiled
gradient-recalled echo, T1-weighted fast imaging employing steady-state acquisition, T2-weighted interactive decomposition
of water and fat with echo asymmetry least-squares estimation and Diffusion weighted imaging acquisition sequences
were used on a 3.0 T unit.
RESULTS: Regarding the inferior alveolar nerve course and its spatial relationship with the mandibular lesion, magnetic
resonance imaging provided more detailed spatial and structural information than other imaging methods.
CONCLUSION: The described acquisition sequences allowed us to highlight the diagnostic efficacy of the magnetic resonance
in the morpho-structural characterization of a maxillofacial lesion and showed the importance of this imaging
method as an additional technique to the computerized tomography in the maxillofacial surgical planning, resulting in
a risk reduction of the inferior alveolar nerve surgical injury.